How celebrities are observing Ramadhan in their own little ways

Tanasha, Diamond, Meg C and Shaffie Weru [Photo: Courtesy]

The holy month is here with us and the celebrities who are of Islamic persuasions are observing it in their own little ways.

Almost all the best Swahili and Somali eateries in Nairobi and Mombasa are closed. In Mombasa, Qasida and other form of Arabic poetry rent the air as the colourful, boisterous and popular Taarab music takes a back seat.

It is that time you are most likely to find your favourite Muslim celebrity in a Buibui or Kanzu, not the figure-hugging tops and charred jean pants.

Remember how Moroccan-born American rapper French Montana dressed for the Met Gala? 

French Montana [Photo: Courtesy]

Global sporting events have also caused online curiosity on how sportspeople cope with the challenge of participating or practicing while observing Ramadan.

Ramadan ended a few days to the start of the 2018 World Cup, and during the pre-tournament games, players found ways to stay energetic.

Take, for example, Tunisia. The team’s goalkeeper kept going down over dubious fouls, and each time, the rest of the players would rush off the pitch to take water or dates. They were breaking fast. 

KTN’s Jamal Gadafi says that with Ramadhan being a month of prayer, he has put all ‘distractions’ on hold so as to focus on his spirituality. During Ramadhan, he spends his time between his home and the mosque.

“I had a fashion event this week, which I pushed to end of the month because I need to have one mind during this season. Even for my show Maisha Mzuqa, I have pre-recorded shows for the entire Ramadhan month as opposed to live shows,” he reveals.

However, for events, he only attends the business-related ones.

“There’s no dundaing during Ramadhan,” he says. 

Diamond

Looking glam in a period of so much self-reflection, East Africa’s leading artiste stood next to his girlfriend Tanasha Donna inside a cosmetic store, the white walls reflecting on their white attires. In an Instagram post the Boy from Tandale posted this week, which has more than 200,000 likes, Tasha dons a hijab, both holding their hands in the peace sign.

Diamond [Photo: Courtesy]

He bought clothes and other items, and of course, never forgot to say where. Because even during Ramadhan, money, and endorsements have to be made.

“Mpelekee wako ukamchukulie nawe” he finished off the caption. 

Shaffie Weru

“I have taken off from partying, clubbing and taking gigs. The only gigs I’m attending or hosting are those I signed before Ramadhan and my normal radio show.  I observe my Saum just like all other practicing Muslim. Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and engaging in community service.  My duah this Ramadhan is to archive inner peace and find love” 

Susumila

The Ngoma Itambae artiste has never hid far from his religion, occasionally decked in Kanzu even on photoshoots. A few years ago, he did not pull any stops when he married his second wife, going through all the week-long activities that are involved in the ceremony.

“As per my own decision, which I made a long time ago, I never release any song during this period. The songs I release after are usually recorded and mastered before Ramadan starts,” he says.

Want Susumila for a show? Throw the cheque book back in the drawer. Want a collabo? You’ll have to wait because he does not do shows nor record any music. 

Tiziana

The sexy femcee, born Tiziana Zabibu Khassam, is on a fast. She comes from a Mulsim background even though, in her own words, she does not count herself as a devout.

“I fast like any other Muslim out there and reconnect with Allah,” she says, on a break from a recording session.

“Otherwise, I continue with my hustle like any other day because it’s my job.” 

Refigah

Grandpa Records head honcho explains that in the lifestyle he leads, Ramadan does not affect much of his day-to-day life.

“I stopped taking artistes to shows almost two years ago. I delegated that wok to a tour manager, and I concentrate on the creative elements of work,” he says.

Refigah [Photo: Courtesy]

And what does the period mean for him, personally?

“I honestly look forward to the holy month. Ramadhan is like a rehabilitation period – you stay away from negative habits like backbiting and lying. This habits should not generally happen in the everyday life, but Ramadan is a period where you reconnect and evaluate,” he adds, explaining that he started fasting as a seven-year-old, and has grown with the practice.

“Fasting is in my system.” 

Nyota Ndogo 

Currently in the country with her husband, the veteran entertainer does not miss a beat when it comes to Ramadhan and work, explaining that whatever she does is purely her and Allah’s business.

“My work is like any other. The work I do is what I believe He planned for me to do because if I don’t work, what would my family eat?” she asks.

But it’s not that simple. You won’t see her dressed in revealing or sexy clothes.

“Show lazima ziwe ki-Teshima. I have to make sure I dress respectfully and what I sing is appropriate,” she concludes. 

Nyota Ndogo [Photo: Courtesy]

Kaa La Moto

Mombasa finest and arguably one of Kenya’s most conscious MCs continues with writing and recording because it’s work.

“I am an educator, social commentator, and life continues even during Ramadhan,” he philosophically says.

“I keep writing, trying to inspire my community to stay positive and live right.”

Kaa explains that though Ramadhan is an important period, he does not understand why some Muslims would wait for this month to do better.

“Why would some wait for this month to start praying?” he asks.

Even though he has never performed over Ramadhan, he has no qualms doing it.

“I spend most of my time meditating or praying but if I was to do a show, it has to be in a proper environment – not in a bar or club, or in a space where people are not dressed appropriately.” 

Kidoli (Meg C)

You will be lucky to even spot Kidoli this holy month. The songstress, one of the finest and most adored when she hit the scene with her doll-like features and warm smile, cut out most things from her life.

“I cut out anything that’s not permitted in my religion,” the singer, born Nasra Salim says. “Including make-up!”

Meg C [Photo: Courtesy]

This is the period of appreciating being alive and healthy, and thus, a lot more time goes to worship. It’s the time to being closer to Allah.”

According to the artiste, who is making a comeback after a long hiatus, she was set to drop her next jam, but it will have to wait for Eid.

“I don’t even listen to music at the moment. I just read my Quran or listen to it online.” 

Sudi Boy

“Bro, I take a break from anything concerning showbiz until Eid,” the Naona Bado singer says. What if he gets a major gig?

He laughs, then clarifies that he will drop a prayer, and go get paid. “But it has to be in a decent place and day time. You know we have to respect the holy month, even though it can be a balancing act for artistes who live by the art.” 

Mustafa

One of the bad boys of showbiz is also observing Ramadhan and he says it's consuming most of his time at the moment.

Mustafa [Photo: Courtesy]

A reality TV personality with Nairobi Diaries, he only leaves the house if needed at the studio.

“I have been listening to some songs I have done, fire songs! They will come out soon, but at the moment I’m not recording or doing any shows,” he says.

“Fasting needs discipline, and I even took a break from the gym. Kutulia tu.” 

Jay-A

During the holy month of Ramadhan all Muslims are expected to engage with their daily activities as normal and should not be seen as an impediment due to fasting.

However the need to setup some parameters to ensure conformity with religious requirements are adhered to, the most important one being morals.


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